MFA NEWS SCAN JUNE 16, 2014

MFA NEWS SCAN JUNE 16, 2014


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MA MINIMUM WAGE U/I PROPOSAL TO GOVERNOR

On Thursday, June 20 the MA Legislature sent the minimum wage/unemployment insurance bill (S2195) to the Governor for his approval.  The Governor is expected to sign the bill into law shortly.  It includes:

  • $8/hour to $9.00 per hour effective January 1, 2015, to $10.00 per hour effective January 1, 2016 and to $11.00 per hour effective January 1, 2017 - a $3.00 increase over three years starting next year;
  • No automatic increases (indexing) in future minimum wage rates after 2017;

With regards to unemployment insurance reform, the proposal includes the following changes:

  • Taxable wage base increase from the present level of $14,000 to $15,000;
  • A freeze of the experience rating at Schedule “C” for years 2015 - 2017, (presently at “E”);
  • Beginning January 1, 2018, a three year period preceding the computation date for an employer’s experience rate and taxable wages will be used to determine future rates as opposed to the present one year period.

Proponents of the ballot initiative are likely to not file their signature papers with the Secretary of State if the proposal is signed into law by the Governor before the July 2 deadline for signature filing.  If the signatures are turned over to the Secretary of State before July 2, the question will appear on the ballot regardless of any protest or change of heart from the ten original signers of the petition.  We will keep you informed.

 

MA FY ’15 BUDGET MAY BE READY SOON

House and Senate members have been notified that they may meet formally on Friday, June 27 in anticipation of the forthcoming FY ’15 state budget, approximated at $36.4 billion.  The Senate version of the state budget contained an amendment that would expand the state’s bottle bill.  The House version did not contain such a provision.  The compromise proposal that will be discharged from the Conference Committee is not expected to contain this provision; however we will be watching closely to see what the final proposal contains.  The new fiscal year starts July 1.

 

MA WIC CARD PROGRAM ROLLOUT ON SCHEDULE

The MA WIC office continues on schedule with its rollout of the new electronic benefits WIC card, beginning with its pilot program debuting in Berkshire County on July 9.  WIC participants will be issued WIC cards; however the paper WIC vouchers will continue to be in use at the same time until the supply is exhausted.  Statewide rollout of the WIC card is scheduled to begin October 1, after which both WIC cards and paper vouchers will also be in use until the paper voucher supply is discontinued and exhausted.  This is expected to last into December.  Please contact the office if you have any questions or concerns.

 

COMMITTEE CHAIRS EXPECT REPORT ON BOTTLE BILL

As proponents of bottle bill expansion continue through the process of placing their question on the November ballot, Chairs of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy await a report from a four member working group made up of House and Senate members on their progress and status of crafting a bottle bill update that is acceptable to both proponents and opponents of expansion.  It is due Wednesday, June 25.  Discussions are ongoing.

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MFA NEWS SCAN JUNE 16, 2014


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